This multifaceted city has had a traditionally rich artistic life and an enormous contribution to Albanian culture. Shkodra is the cradle of the most important Albanian poets, like Migjeni, painters like Kol Idromeno and Edi Hila, and photographers, the Marubi Family. Shkodra houses the haunting Marubi National Photography Museum, which displays the first photo taken in Albania, and the Venice Art Mask Factory, where a local master produces the same intricate masks used in the Venice carnivals and Las Vegas shows. A city of myths and legends, the foundations of the famous Castle of Shkodra are said to be held by the body of Rozafa, the beautiful young mother who sacrificed herself for it. You will find that this naturally beautiful city has an abundance of mirrors in the Adriatic Sea, Lake Shkodra, and the Buna River. Otherwise called the “city of bicycles,” the city views are best admired while pedaling in the open air.
Shkodër is referred to as the capital and cultural cradle of northern Albania, also known as Gegëria, for having been the birthplace and home of notable individuals, who among others contributed to the Albanian Renaissance. Most of the inhabitants of Shkodër speak a distinctive dialect of northwestern Gheg Albanian that differs from other Albanian dialects. Shkodër has also a long tradition in the development of the urban music of Albania, marked by a characteristic use of instrumentation and a style of composition.
Rozafa Castle has played an instrumental role in Shkodër’s history as the residence of Illyrian monarchs and a military stronghold. Located in the south of Shkodër, its foundations are associated with a legend about a woman who sacrificed herself so the castle could be constructed. The historical Museum of Shkodër is the most important museum in Shkodër and was founded to protect artifacts from all over the region of Shkodër, thus displaying their cultural and historical value. It is housed in a monumental mansion from the 19th century, collectively known as the house of Oso Kuka. The expanded Marubi National Museum of Photography located on Kolë Idromeno Street displays an extensive visual collection of Albanian social, cultural, and political life beginning from 1850 in its galleries.
Shkodër’s architecture and urban development are historically and culturally significant for northern Albania. It was and is inhabited by many people of different cultures and religions with many of them leaving marks of their cultural heritage. The Ebu Beker Mosque, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Mosque, Franciscan Church, Lead Mosque, Nativity Cathedral, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the most eminent religious buildings of Shkodër. Other major monuments include the Drisht Castle, Mesi Bridge, and ruins of Shurdhah Island.